Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Supper: Dry Pork and Cheesy Potatoes

I wanted this post to be about the amazing crock pot pork loin and au gratin potatoes that I prepared for our Christmas Eve dinner, but I'm afraid I can only make good on half of that goal. I should have followed my own, time-tested advice, and never try to make any other kind of pork roast than shoulder. Loin these days is just too lean, with barely any fat at all to make it juicy--even cooking low and slow in that moist environment until it falls apart. My friend, Jay, says that my only hope is to BRINE a pork loin roast, and my other friend, Chris, has given me the same advice about pork chops, which I did find to be true. But that's another post for another time.

Suffice it to say, though the meat was dry this time, the cooking liquid was very tasty, and I would certainly make that again. I used a small jar of apricot jam, a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, two tablespoons of Dijon mustard, and a squirt of sriracha (hot sauce); I also added a sliced onion and several cloves of garlic to the crock. Despite my efforts, the entree was a big, (not enough) fat failure!

The potatoes were good, though. And they were pretty easy, if you have a mandoline or food processor with a slicing blade. This recipe goes on the "make again" list.

Crock Pot Au Gratin Potatoes

2-3 lbs. potatoes (about 6-8 medium), peeled or not, as you prefer
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 small onion, thinly sliced, optional
1 can cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
2 cups shredded cheese

Thinly slice potatoes and toss with salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Put sliced potatoes in greased crock pot. Layer with onion slices and cheese. Mix flour and milk together with soup, then pour over potatoes.
Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

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